South Africa's Director General of Land Affairs Hopes to Benefit from UW's Experience with Land Reform

Madison, WI, June 1, 2001 -- On a visit with implications for the future of land reform in South Africa, Dr. G.P. Mayende, Director General of the Department of Land Affairs, Republic of South Africa, is at the Land Tenure Center (LTC) to work closely with its staff.

Six years ago, South Africa began a land reform program to find ways of securing tenure for approximately 2.4 million households. Dr. Mayende expressed concern that the reform has yet to move from planning stages to effective implementation.

Many of LTC's researchers have worked on land reform in countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Dr. Mayende hopes to learn from experiences in those other African countries. He intends to use what he learns on this visit to help his department prepare for South Africa's upcoming National Land Rights Conference.

A contentious issue in South Africa's land reform effort concerns the extent to which freehold title (full private ownership) should be introduced in the communal or "traditional?areas. Many experts involved in international development argue that there are effective alternatives to freehold. In recent years, institutions such as the World Bank have begun to accept that other forms of tenure, such as common property, can in some cases be more effective in giving people secure rights to land.

The visit also provides Dr. Mayende the opportunity to study the unique research materials, documents, and publications housed at LTC. On 6 June, he will give a seminar at LTC entitled, "Land Tenure Reform in the Republic of South Africa.?The seminar is open to the public. He ends his visit on 13 June.